UK’s Boris Johnson quits Liz Truss to take over as UK Prime Minister
Truss, 47, takes office a day after the 172,000 members of the Conservative Party elected her as leader of their party.
On Tuesday afternoon, she is expected to deliver her first speech as leader of a nation of 67 million worried about soaring energy bills and a looming winter of recession and social unrest. These problems have worsened over the past two months as Johnson lacked the power to make major policy decisions after announcing his intention to step down.
Speaking to members of the Conservative party on Monday, Truss promised to “deliver” on the economy, the energy crisis and the overburdened healthcare system, although she gave few details on her policies. On Sunday, Truss promised to unveil his plans to tackle the cost of living crisis within a week.
She is under pressure to explain how she plans to help people and businesses struggling to pay energy bills which are set to rise next month to 3,500 pounds ($4,000) for the average household, or the triple the cost of a year ago.
The price spike, sparked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the aftershocks of Covid-19 and Brexit, has pushed UK inflation above 10% for the first time in four decades . The Bank of England predicts that it will reach 13.3% in October and that the United Kingdom will tip into recession by the end of the year.
Train drivers, port staff, garbage collectors, postal workers and lawyers have all staged strikes to demand pay rises keep pace with inflation, and millions more, from teachers to nurses, could leave in the next few months.
Truss, a low-tax, small-government conservative, says her priority is lowering taxes and reducing regulations to fuel economic growth. Critics say it will further fuel inflation while not solving the cost of living crisis. Uncertainty rattled currency markets, sending the pound tumbling to $1.15, its weakest performance against the dollar since the 1980s.
Truss’ first task will be to appoint a Cabinet to tackle the mountain of government challenges.
She will also have to deal with multiple foreign policy crises, including the war in Ukraine and the frosty post-Brexit relationship with the European Union.
As Foreign Secretary, Truss was a strong supporter of Ukraine’s resistance to the Russian invasion, and as Prime Minister she will continue the UK’s civilian and military support to Kyiv. She said her first phone call with a world leader would be with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
She is likely to have much colder conversations with EU leaders, who have been annoyed by Truss’ intransigent position as foreign secretary in trade rules talks for Northern Ireland, an issue not resolved Brexit which has deteriorated relations between London and Brussels.